Truck driver acquitted in deaths of 7 motorcycle riders in ICE custody, faces deportation

·2 min read

A truck driver who is a citizen of the Ukraine has been taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and now faces deportation, just one day after he was acquitted of all charges in connection with a crash in New Hampshire that left seven motorcyclists dead, an official said.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 26, was taken into ICE custody at the Grafton County Department of Corrections facility in North Haverhill, New Hampshire, and was served a notice to appear in immigration court, an ICE spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

In a statement the spokesperson said, “Zhukovskyy has an extensive criminal history including three prior convictions of charges that included possession of cocaine and heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under suspension, furnishing false information to an officer and larceny.”

ICE had sent a detainer request to the Coos County jail in July 2019 after he was arrested and charged in a crash that claimed the life of seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, according to the spokesperson.

The spokesperson noted that ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable noncitizens. Those placed into removal proceedings receive their legal due process from federal immigration judges.

Truck driver charged in the deaths of 7 motorcycle riders in NH found not guilty on all charges

Zhukovskyy faced multiple counts of negligent homicide and manslaughter in connection with a crash on Route 2 in Randolph.

After more than two weeks of testimony, a jury on Tuesday quickly returned the not guilty verdict.

During his trial, the prosecution argued that Zhukovskyy took heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine before he swerved back and forth, and crashed into the motorcyclists. But a judge dismissed eight charges related to whether he was impaired, and his attorney had blamed the lead biker, Albert “Woody” Mazza, saying he lost control of his motorcycle and collided with the truck while driving drunk.

Zhukovskyy’s commercial driving license should have been revoked in Massachusetts at the time of the crash because of a drunken driving arrest in Connecticut about two months earlier.

Connecticut officials alerted the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, but Zhukovskyy’s license wasn’t suspended due to a backlog of out-of-state notifications about driving offenses.

The motorcyclists who died were club members from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. They were part of a larger group that had just left a motel along the highway to head to the American Legion Post in Gorham for a fundraiser.

The trial began July 26.

Editor’s note: Some material from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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